The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Tuning tips please! Charlie Watts Honky Tonk Woman
Old 14th October 2012
  #1
Tuning tips please! Charlie Watts Honky Tonk Woman

Hi all,

Love the tone of Honky Tonk woman - For educational purposes, could you push me in the right direction?



Kick drum - would you say the heads are tuned low? Very little/no padding?

Snare drum - batter side tuned lower than snare side? Medium pitch? The length of the snare note seems to be more reverb than undamped heads, so maybe damped somewhat?

In this clip he seems to tune the snare quite low

Old 5th December 2012
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Step 1: get an old brass 5 by 14 snare.

Step 2: Hire Glyn Johns to record you.

Good luck. I agree that snare sound on that song is killer.

Sent from my DROID X2
Old 7th December 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I've spent some time trying to recreate this sound. A big part is having the mono plate reverb on the snare. The snare is definitely a med-low tuning. Hit fairly hard (no rim). Mild amount of damping--a wallet halfway on the rim might work. I tend to keep my bottom head tuned about 3 or 4 quarter turns on each lug. This just seems to be a general purpose range that works well for everything. Kick drum has the front head on. Most likely no muffling at all inside. I always start at 'flabby' and just maybe tune up barely past that. D12 outside the kick, U67 forehead height over snare, U67 on floor tom, and maybe U67 on rack tom.
Old 9th December 2012
  #4
Cool - great tips guys - thanks very much

I do actually know how to get hold of Glyn... and one U67
Old 26th January 2013
  #5
ADG
Gear Maniac
 

I think he used a Supra. Not sure if it was the COB version though...
Old 26th January 2013
  #6
Gear Addict
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 

The snare in that video clip is a DW/Craviotto.......I think
Old 23rd February 2013
  #7
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I've read that they tried very very hard to get that sound again and failed.
Old 29th March 2013
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
I've spent some time trying to recreate this sound. A big part is having the mono plate reverb on the snare. The snare is definitely a med-low tuning. Hit fairly hard (no rim). Mild amount of damping--a wallet halfway on the rim might work. I tend to keep my bottom head tuned about 3 or 4 quarter turns on each lug. This just seems to be a general purpose range that works well for everything. Kick drum has the front head on. Most likely no muffling at all inside. I always start at 'flabby' and just maybe tune up barely past that. D12 outside the kick, U67 forehead height over snare, U67 on floor tom, and maybe U67 on rack tom.
Really? I think it sounds muffled, and in the movie "Sympathy For The Devil" they show the setup and the front head is off, and there is a big pillow/pad inside the bass drum. The sound is similar, just lower in the mix. They may have completely changed things for HTW, but I don't think so, cuz the decay sounds like a muffled kick to me. Any studio photos from that era that I have seen, have had a muffled, single head kick.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #9
ADG
Gear Maniac
 

About the snare...

His snare in recent years is that wooden snare in the clip, but back in the day, he mainly used Supras...both sizes. I think he also used super sensitive at one point.
Old 10th April 2013
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I've been chasing that drum sound for
Years , it's probably my favorite drum
sound . I've had the most luck with
a 71 Ludwig kit , 5" supra . Both heads
on kick with about 1/3 of the interior padded
With towels against both heads . 4-5 mic glyn
Johns set up and analog tape . Big room
and plate reverb is all I'm missing .
well ... and Charlie Watts
Monkey Man kills too
Old 11th April 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannny View Post
Really? I think it sounds muffled, and in the movie "Sympathy For The Devil" they show the setup and the front head is off, and there is a big pillow/pad inside the bass drum. The sound is similar, just lower in the mix. They may have completely changed things for HTW, but I don't think so, cuz the decay sounds like a muffled kick to me. Any studio photos from that era that I have seen, have had a muffled, single head kick.
Yea, but the "Beggars" album was recorded in the summer of 1968, the "Honky Tonk" single was from the summer of '69--a whole year later, so we're not talking about the the same sessions/ideas/sounds. Now, I definitely hear a kick with the head off on 'jigsaw puzzle' and 'stray cat'. But with 'honky tonk' it's a totally different sound--too much boomy resonance on the kick to be head off, IMHO.
Old 11th April 2013
  #12
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Just to be clear about what I was saying above, the Stones and the same crew were unable to duplicate that sound in the same studio a few days later. A lot of it may have been happenstance bleed of the drums into other mikes.

These kinds of "happy accidents" are common when recording live. My opinion is that we need to get back to doing that. Modern technology makes vintage production methods much easier. Old gear doesn't get it.
Old 11th April 2013
  #13
Thanks Bob, that says it all! For some reason I missed your earlier reply!
Old 12th April 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Great point Bob , Mic bleed certainly changes the character of a recording .
Those pics from the glyn days of the stones and zep show the amps only 15 feet or so away from the kit separated by a few rolling baffles . Besides the guitar mics a scratch vocal with some reverb has enormous effect on my drum sound . I suppose non of the guitars were muted on the mixdown for the intro ?
I mention analog tape only out of preference .
Any way - last night I listened to honk tonk and tuned up every drum
to the recording , the best I could match it . I was kinda surprised how high the
tuning is on the high tom . Charlie has the magic touch .
Old 12th April 2013
  #15
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I learned this about bleed from some of the early Nashville engineers.

I put it to the test when a friend of mine wanted me to do a quick recording of this wedding band at a local community college. All of my gear was tied up for a session I was co-producing so I had to use whatever I found at the school. The only condensers were a no-name and a cheap AKG I'd never used before along with three or four 57s. Taking a cue from the older guys, I set the vocal up close enough to the drums that the bleed would become part of the drum sound.

I walked into the control room, brought up the faders and just about fainted. There was the Muscle Shoals "sound" in all its glory. My friend's wedding band turned out to be the guys who had backed up Arthur Conley and the magic was that vocal mike bleed the old Nashville engineers had talked about.

According to Glynn Johns he always set bands up at Olympic to just as close to their regular stage setup as possible because he felt they played better that way.
Old 12th April 2013
  #16
That's great!
Old 10th September 2013
  #17
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

So if you'd like 1 snare to be as close as possible to Charlie Watts and also be able to cover Ringo snare sounds, like "Glass Onion"

What would you get in new or used?

Who makes the best drum hardware these days?
Old 18th September 2013
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
So if you'd like 1 snare to be as close as possible to Charlie Watts and also be able to cover Ringo snare sounds, like "Glass Onion"

What would you get in new or used?

Who makes the best drum hardware these days?
Get a Ludwig Supera or a 60โ€™s Rogers Dynasonic. Great snare drums
Old 1st February 2014
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
Yea, but the "Beggars" album was recorded in the summer of 1968, the "Honky Tonk" single was from the summer of '69--a whole year later, so we're not talking about the the same sessions/ideas/sounds. Now, I definitely hear a kick with the head off on 'jigsaw puzzle' and 'stray cat'. But with 'honky tonk' it's a totally different sound--too much boomy resonance on the kick to be head off, IMHO.

The reason I cited the the Beggars sessions is because I know that some of the tunes on Let It Bleed were recorded at the same sessions. I also realize they could change the micing from tune to tune. I have since learned that Honky Tonk was recorded later, and found this pic from those later sessions. In this pic Watts has a front head...


I think that Charlie gets a lot of the shaft of the stick on the snare head (as opposed to just the tip), and may get some of the rim as well.

*note that Brian Jones (sitting on the left) was still in the band when Honky Tonk was recorded, and Mick Taylor added overdubs later.
Attached Thumbnails
Tuning tips please! Charlie Watts Honky Tonk Woman-honky.jpg  
Old 2nd February 2014
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
So if you'd like 1 snare to be as close as possible to Charlie Watts and also be able to cover Ringo snare sounds, like "Glass Onion"

What would you get in new or used?

Who makes the best drum hardware these days?
I don't think "the best" modern hardware is what you want to get his sound. I posted this elsewhere, but it applies here too...

One thing that I never see mentioned when it comes to 60's/70's drum sounds is the drum hardware. The new stuff is all heavy duty, and immobile. Many drummers have a floating tom mounting system, 30 lb. cymbal stands, blahblahblah, all in search of a "pure" tone. The main piece where I feel the lighter weight hardware makes a difference is the hi-hat. They just sound crappier (in a good way). The decay is definitely different.

If you see old footage of Ringo, you see how the whole kit is moving with him! I realize in the studio they were more stationary, but the drums and cymbals decay quicker, and the tones aren't so "pure" with the lightweight hardware of yesteryear.
Old 2nd February 2014
  #21
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Speaking of hardware, it's really important to NOT clamp the snare down with the modern adjustable baskets. It will completely choke the drum. This is also true if you put the rack tom on a snare snare stand, like Charlie does. Let the drums vibrate!!!
Old 3rd February 2014
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Speaking of hardware, it's really important to NOT clamp the snare down with the modern adjustable baskets. It will completely choke the drum. This is also true if you put the rack tom on a snare snare stand, like Charlie does. Let the drums vibrate!!!
Great info. There is a tom at my shared studio that went dead, and I couldn't figure it out. I will check for that. Thanks
Old 3rd February 2014
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I hope that's what helps.
Old 3rd February 2014
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I hope that's what helps.
It didn't....must just be a dead head.
Old 3rd February 2014
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannny View Post
It didn't....must just be a dead head.
You're description of "gone dead" usually implies that a head is needed.
Old 7th May 2020
  #26
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
You're description of "gone dead" usually implies that a head is needed.
It was a coated 2-ply head, and the inner ply was torn, but you couldn't see it.
Old 7th May 2020
  #27
Lives for gear
 

tuning?! on this track? - must be kidding...

he picked up the drums in whatever shape they were and implied his sound on the instrument - there are no drums on this track, all you hear is charlie!
Old 7th May 2020
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannny View Post
It was a coated 2-ply head, and the inner ply was torn, but you couldn't see it.
Wow, a 6 year call back.
Old 7th May 2020
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Wow, a 6 year call back.
It never ends, man!
Old 7th May 2020
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannny View Post
It never ends, man!
Ain't that the truth. I hope you're making some good music in the meantime.
๐Ÿ“ Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
๐Ÿ–จ๏ธ Show Printable Version
โœ‰๏ธ Email this Page
๐Ÿ” Search thread
๐ŸŽ™๏ธ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump